Traveling to Italy: Two student trips to Italy will be focus of Sept. 18 meeting

UDM offers study-abroad programs that range in terms of classes offered, time and cost.

The best part? You get to see a different part of the world.

UDM offers several programs that place students in all corners of the globe. One such example is Italy.

There will be a general information meeting on Sept. 18 from 12:45 to 2 p.m. in Reno Hall 200 about UDM’s spring-break trip top Tuscany program, as well as UDM’s summer study in Volterra.

The spring-break trip and other trips of similar length are considered “short-term,” allowing more flexibility for students.

“They definitely address the time factor,” said Lara Wasner, UDM director of Language and Cultural Training. “Not every student can travel abroad for an entire semester. They don’t have time in their programs to do so and they might not have the resources to do so.”

Yet, it’s just about seeing the world. There are, of course, classes involved.

 “Those programs abroad are attached to courses taught during, primarily, winter term,” said Wasner. “We know that they serve students as either electives or in many cases core elements.”

Wasner also pointed out that the trips offer plenty of time for students to be independent.

“Your purpose is academic primarily but we don’t want you to be confined to four walls because, otherwise, what good would it be?” said Wasner. “It’s experiential learning. You’re able to learn on the go; you’re going places.”

If you’re looking to get away a little bit longer, UDM also has long-term options.

UDM’s School of Architecture has been running a program in Volterra, Italy, for 27 years, according to Wladek Fuchs, director of architecture’s international programs. 

The school  runs a full-semester program in Volterra that starts in May and ends in July.

This past summer saw another program come about – an open-enrollment program, which is for six weeks and is open to any student, even ones from other universities.

“If you stay there, even for six weeks, it’s where you have made friends,” said Fuchs.  “That place starts to become home. It starts to become another place that you’re going to miss when you leave.”

Students take three courses, each worth three credit hours.

“It’s the participation and the immersion that make it worthwhile,” said Fuchs.

While students eventually make their way back to UDM, the trips serve a lasting purpose, even for future employment in some cases.

“Even short-term programs have a long-term impact when it comes to demonstrating cultural competence,” said Wasner.

She often encourages students to put their study-abroad experiences near the top of their resume. It stands out to employers, she said.

“It’s not just a trip,” said Fuchs of the School of Architecture. “If you want to get to know a foreign culture, you have to spend more time there. Those students who have, they start to understand not only other cultures but they start to understand their own culture.”